Tuesday, August 18th 2009
Today Mariella and I met up with some American friends named Matt & Brittany (husband and wife) and Emilia. Our friends work for Salvation Army East Africa. We left Kibera at 11am. Abuit (Abel’s brother who live across the street) was nice enough to escort us to the bus stop near the main road. This is where a car bumped me. The driver was looking straight at me as we were crossing the road, but chose not to slow down and he bumped me with the right front bumper at a slow speed. It was a rude reminder that many Kenyan drivers do not stop for pedestrians. Luckily, we jumped on the correct matatu (bus) and headed for the Yaya mall to walk around, have some alone time, and eventually get picked up by our American friends. They picked us up at 1pm and we went to the compound where they live and work for the Salvation Army. We helped them with the vacation Bible school they were hosting for the children at the school. Most kids left to go home for winter break, but there were about 40 primary and secondary students who either do not have parents or do not have the funds to travel home for holidays. Many of the young people have sponsors that support their education at the Salvation Army. We grabbed dinner later in the evening with our new friends, had a great time of fellowship and awesome conversations, then where dropped off on the outskirts of Kibera where Abuit met us and escorted us back into Kibera at night. A little later I sat for a while with Bonafas (21years) and Peter (18 years) who live with their mother, Edith, in the building next door. It is Bonafas’ job to make dinner each night. He first made ugali, which is a staple Kenyan food. Ugali is corn mash. In Kikuya it is called gima. He also cooked omena (sardines) with onion tomato and spinach. We have found that most Kenyans eat late in the evening, usually 9:30 or 10:00pm. The other day Peter told me he has had Typhoid many times because of the water he consumed. The water in Kibera is still shut off, this being day 3 without water. Water has to be fetched every morning in plastic jugs and pushed back home in a wheel barrel. This morning Milcah boiled some water for me to add to a bucket to take a bath, it was very nice. (Now Mariella typing) Today we hope to work on some more of the mural with the kids from Ghetto Light. Yesterday, we were able to find some black paint, let me tell you that was quite the task; there are certain things that are incredibly hard to come by here. I was able to catch my mom and sister, Jennifer, on skype this morning (midnight your time) and was very happy to see them for a little while, I learned that my sister, Alejandra, has completed her ultrasound tech program, good job ale, and also learned that my brother, Danny, comes and visits every weekend from the Navy, so I was really glad to hear all the great news, just seeing my mom and sister made me feel a little closer to home. We’ve been gone for about 60 days now and I am ever so thankful for technologies like Skype. Craig and I are learning some pretty amazing things while in Kibera, things that unfortunately are hard to grasp in a typical 2 week trip. Living in Kibera and hearing the stories really makes you incredibly thankful. Since the water has been off, and even before because the country is experiencing a terrible drought, we have had to “let it mellow if it’s yellow” and when you eventually “flush it down” you have to first manually fill the toilet basin, then flush. I also learned that bucket baths are not all that rough, well at least for those with rather short hair. I mean seriously why aren’t we practicing these things at home? I mean we are almost always experiencing water shortages. It’s super easy, try it, fill a basin half way with water, I’ve had mostly cold baths but you could warm some up to make it easier, take a cloth, or in our case that handy dandy handkerchief Larissa gave me before we left, use it to wet your body, apply soap, rinse, (all done inside the bath or shower of course) dunk head into basin to wet hair, apply shampoo, and rinse. TADA! It’s funny; of all the people that read this blog I am almost certain of one who will try this, Renee and Zach man.
Well people, we appreciate so much all of your prayers and love. Please continue to pray for our time with the youth here and for the mural project. We love you guys.